Latest: Russia crosses record death toll for second day in a row

MOSCOW — The coronavirus death toll in Russia hit a record for the second day in a row on Wednesday, with officials reporting 669 new deaths, the highest daily tally in the pandemic. The previous record of 652 new deaths was recorded on Tuesday.

Russia has struggled in recent weeks to cope with a surge in infections and deaths that comes amid slowing vaccination rates.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has recorded more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases and nearly 600 deaths every day since last Thursday. On Wednesday, 21,042 new cases were registered.

Russian officials have attributed the rise, which began in early June, to Russians’ lax attitude toward taking necessary precautions, the rising prevalence of more infectious forms and backward vaccination rates. Although Russia was among the first to announce and deploy a coronavirus vaccine, more than 15% of the population has received at least one shot.

Russia’s coronavirus task force has reported more than 5.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 135,214 deaths in the pandemic.


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Here’s what else is happening:

ISLAMABAD – Hundreds of Pakistani migrant workers were rallying in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday, demanding that they be given Pfizer or Astra Zeneca vaccines quickly so they can travel abroad.

Protesters, who arrived in Islamabad from different parts of the country earlier this week, blocked a major road outside a mass vaccination center after they were told specific vaccines were being arranged for them.

The latest development comes two days after angry Pakistani migrant workers stormed the same vaccination centre, damaging the gates and windows of the centre.

Pakistan has so far relied mainly on Chinese vaccines, but some Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia require travelers to present a certificate to show that they have received shots of specific vaccines such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Pakistan has said that it expects the situation to improve when it receives European vaccines under the COVAX scheme.


BUCHAREST, Romania – Romania will sell more than one million surplus doses of Pfizer vaccine to Denmark as the eastern European country sees a sharp decline in vaccination, Prime Minister Florin Situ said.

“We liaise with many countries to export or donate. We receive requests every day. In Denmark we will sell one million doses of Pfizer at purchase price.

Danish health officials said on Tuesday that Romania had agreed to sell 1.17 million doses.

In recent weeks, daily vaccination in Romania has dropped significantly, from about 100,000 per day in mid-May to just 20,000 per day in the previous week, raising concerns over vaccine hesitancy. Only 23% of the country’s more than 19 million population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.

Romanian officials have said a slow vaccination campaign will close some vaccine centers and that thousands of doses of AstraZeneca that expire on Wednesday are likely to be destroyed.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement on Tuesday that the agreement with Romania “is a strong sign of European and international cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus.”

The Danish government agency Statens Serum Institute said it expects the country’s first Pfizer vaccine to arrive this week.


Brisbane, Australia – Top health officials in Australia’s state of Queensland are advising adults under the age of 40 not to get the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine because of the risk of a rare blood clotting disorder, even though the Australian government recommends those shots. Providing for all adults.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Janet Young said on Wednesday that young adults should wait for the rare Pfizer vaccine to become available. Young says that with only 42 coronavirus cases active in Queensland, AstraZeneca is not worth the risk to young adults.

The federal government on Monday decided to make AstraZeneca available to all adults as concerns grow about clusters of the delta version of the coronavirus, known to be more contagious.

Australian officials still say Pfizer is the preferred option for people under 60.


Seoul, South Korea – South Korea is reporting its biggest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in nearly two months, just a day ahead of plans to ease its physical distancing rules.

The government said on Wednesday it had confirmed 794 new cases in the past 24-hour period, nearly 80% of them in the Seoul region, where more than half of South Korea’s 52 million people live.

From Thursday, officials plan to allow social gatherings of six people – an increase from the current four. Restaurants, cafes and other businesses will be allowed to remain open until midnight instead of 10 pm and easier distancing guidelines will be enforced outside the Seoul area.

Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol says the government will reinstate strict distancing rules if the outbreak is more severe.


Kansas City, Mo. – Some COVID-19 patients are being turned away from an overwhelmed hospital in southwestern Missouri amid a surge in cases, and some are being moved to low-stress hospitals hundreds of miles away in Kansas City and St.

Springfield news-leaders quoted CoxHealth Systems President Steve Edwards as saying Tuesday that Cox Hospital in Springfield is on a “Covid diversion” as the delta version of the coronavirus gains momentum in an area where residents are not vaccinated on a large scale. is done.

Edwards says four Cox patients were recently transferred to the St. Louis area and four went to Kansas City.

Officials at Springfield’s second hospital, Mercy Springfield, say patients have not yet been moved to major cities.


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Street musician Charles Adams has spent the past three months living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a motel paid for with federal funds aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 by getting homeless residents off the streets. But as hotels reopen to tourists and funding dwindles, thousands of homeless people are being forced out of motels across the country.

Many cities, such as New Orleans, ended their programs months ago amid a lack of funding. Experts warn there are not enough shelter beds, which could mean sending many people back on the streets.

In one Vermont community, social workers are offering camping equipment to some homeless people who are no longer eligible to stay at motels at the end of the month.

Cities drew from various federal pots to fund homeless hotels. The Federal Emergency Management Agency extended its funding until September, but the approval process is so difficult that many jurisdictions are not taking advantage of it.

The crisis comes as millions across the country face uncertainty over the end of a federal freeze on most evictions on July 31. The ban kept many people from taking to the streets during the pandemic, yet it artificially kept many units off the market. Shorter long term housing for people who are already homeless.


DETROIT – Unionized auto workers in the US, who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, will no longer have to wear face masks at work.

A virus task force with representatives from Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler (now Stelantis) and the United Auto Workers union made the decision on Monday. This is effective from 12 July.

About 150,000 factory workers from all three companies have been wearing masks, maintaining a safe distance, sanitizing equipment and taking other precautions since they reopened in May last year. Other precautions will remain the same.

The task force reviewed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and other parameters before making a decision, the UAW said in a statement Tuesday. Companies will comply with all state and local regulations.

Workers will not be required to show proof of vaccination to take off their masks.


MOSCOW – Russian health officials have approved booster shots for those vaccinated against COVID-19 six months after their first dose.

On Tuesday, 20,616 new infections were recorded and 652 deaths – the highest daily death toll in the pandemic.

Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told a government meeting on Tuesday that the ministry has updated its vaccination guidelines. This allows people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus six months after being cured and those who have been vaccinated to receive a booster shot six months after their first vaccination.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force has been reporting more than 20,000 new infections daily since last Thursday, more than double the average in early June.

Russia was the first globally to announce and deploy a coronavirus vaccine last year, but has since vaccinated only a fraction of its 146 million people. Murashko says more than 23 million — just over 15% — have received at least one dose.


JAKARTA, Indonesia – The Red Cross says Indonesia urgently needs to increase medical care, testing and vaccinations as the number of infections has left it “on the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe.”

The group says its coronavirus hospital in Bogor, outside Jakarta, was “overflowing” and emergency tents were set up to hold more patients. There was a similar scene in other hospitals near the capital, including the hospital in the city of Bekasi, which reached 90% capacity.

On Monday, Indonesia reported more than 20,600 new cases and more than 400 deaths in the world’s fourth most populous country.

The surge in Indonesia is thought to be partly due to the delta variant, which is known to be more contagious. Indonesia has registered more than 2.1 million cases and more than 57,500 confirmed deaths, both the highest in Southeast Asia.

Less than 5% of adults in a country of 270 million have been fully vaccinated. The Red Cross called for global action so that countries like Indonesia can get the vaccines they need.


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